• Developing a microsimulation model for farm forestry planting decisions

      Ryan, Mary; O’Donoghue, Cathal (International Microsimulation Association, 2018)
      There is increasing pressure in Europe to convert land from agriculture to forestry which would enable the sequestration of additional carbon, thereby mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas production. However, there is little or no information available on the drivers of the land use change decision from agriculture to forestry at individual farm level, which is complicated by the inter-temporal nature of the decision.This paper describes a static microsimulation approach which provides a better understanding of the life-cycle relativity of forestry and agricultural incomes, using Ireland as a casestudy. The microsimulation methodology allows for the generation of actual and counterfactual forest and agricultural income streams and for other attributes of utility such as long-term wealth and leisure, for the first time. These attributes are then modelled using purpose built forest models and farm microdata from a 30 year longitudinal dataset. The results show the importance of financial drivers but additionally show that wealth and leisure are also important factors in this inter-temporal land use change decision. By facilitating the examination of the distribution of farms across the farming population, the use of a static microsimulation approach allows us to make a considerable contribution to the literature in relation to the underlying drivers of farm afforestation behaviour. In the broader context of Climate Smart Agriculture and the Grand Challenges facing the intensification of agricultural production, these findings have implications for policies that seek to optimize natural resource use.
    • Functional land management: A framework for managing soil-based ecosystem services for the sustainable intensification of agriculture

      Schulte, Rogier P.; Creamer, Rachel; Donnellan, Trevor; Farrelly, Niall; Fealy, Reamonn; O’Donoghue, Cathal; O’hUallachain, Daire (Elsevier, 2013-11-20)
      Sustainable food production has re-emerged at the top of the global policy agenda, driven by two challenges: (1) the challenge to produce enough food to feed a growing world population and (2) the challenge to make more efficient and prudent use of the world's natural resources. These challenges have led to a societal expectation that the agricultural sector increase productivity, and at the same time provide environmental ‘ecosystem services’ such as the provision of clean water, air, habitats for biodiversity, recycling of nutrients and mitigation against climate change. Whilst the degree to which agriculture can provide individual ecosystem services has been well researched, it is unclear how and to what extent agriculture can meet all expectations relating to environmental sustainability simultaneously, whilst increasing the quantity of food outputs. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for the quantification of the ‘supply of’ and ‘demand for’ agricultural, soil-based ecosystem services or ‘soil functions’. We use Irish agriculture as a case-study for this framework, using proxy-indicators to determine the demand for individual soil functions, as set by agri-environmental policies, as well as the supply of soil functions, as defined by land use and soil type. We subsequently discuss how this functionality of soils can be managed or incentivised through policy measures, with a view to minimising the divergence between agronomic policies designed to promote increased agricultural production and environmental policy objectives. Finally, we discuss the applicability of this conceptual framework to agriculture and agri-environmental policies at EU level, and the implications for policy makers.

      O’Donoghue, Cathal; Chyzheuskaya, Aksana; Grealis, Eoin; Finnegan, William; Goggin, Jamie; Hynes, Stephen; Kilcline, Kevin; Ryan, Mary; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON FOOD SYSTEM DYNAMICS, 2018)
      Sustainable intensification is one of the greatest challenges facing the agri-food sector which needs to produce more food to meet increasing global demand, while minimising negative environmental impacts such as agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Sustainable intensification relates not just to primary production, but also has wider value chain implications. An input-output model is a modelling framework which contains the flows across a value chain within a country. Input-output (IO) models have been disaggregated to have finer granular detail in relation to agricultural sub-sectoral value chains. National IO models with limited agricultural disaggregation have been developed to look at carbon footprints and within agriculture to look at the carbon footprint of specific value chains. In this paper we adapt an agriculturally disaggregated IO model to analyse the source of emissions in different components of agri-food value chains. We focus on Ireland, where emissions from agriculture comprise nearly 30% of national emissions and where there has been a major expansion and transformation in agriculture since the abolition of milk quota restrictions. In a substantial Annex to this paper, we describe the modelling assumptions made in developing this model. Breaking up the value chain into components, we find that most value is generated at the processing stage of the value chain, with greater processing value in more sophisticated value chains such as dairy processing. On the other hand, emissions are in general highest in primary production, albeit emissions from purchased animal feed being higher for poultry than for other value chains, given the lower direct emissions from poultry than from ruminants or sheep. The analysis highlights that emissions per unit of output are much higher for beef and sheep meat value chains than for pig and poultry meat value chains.
    • Policy Incentives and the Organic Value Chain in Ireland

      O’Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Clavin, Dan; Heery, Declan; Leavy, Elaine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON FOOD SYSTEM DYNAMICS, 2017)
      Merged administration data are utilized to study farms that have converted to organic beef production in Ireland, to draw lessons for future CAP scheme design. Results show the complex structure of organic farms with lower cattle age progression than in non-organic systems, suggesting leakage to conventional agriculture. There is also a flow of animals as they age from poorer land in the West to better Eastern areas that are more suitable for finishing, however the flow is less for organic farms. Additionally, there is less specialisation on organic farms as more animals are finished, so leakage is less than expected.
    • The Welfare Impact of Price Changes on Household Welfare and Inequality 1999-2011

      Loughrey, Jason; O’Donoghue, Cathal (Economic and Social Studies, 2012)
      This paper attempts to use applied micro-economic research to understand the impact of price changes over the period 1999-2011 in Ireland. This measure combines an efficiency component using a Linear Expenditure System (LES) and an equity component using the Atkinson Index of Inequality. The efficiency component includes the behavioural response to price changes for non-subsistence expenditures thereby producing a Cost of Living Index. The Atkinson Index of Inequality produces an inequality measure and this is combined with the Cost of Living Index to produce an overall welfare measure. This extends upon the existing Irish literature on this issue by accounting for this broader set of components. The results show that changes in the cost of living have differed substantially between households both in terms of demographics and the position of the household in the income distribution and that behavioural response can potentially improve the welfare position of households in response to price changes in most years.